Caley Thistle captain Carl Tremarco says his side must learn the lessons from the embarrassment of Sunday’s 5-0 Betfred Cup loss to Hearts ahead of the Championship campaign.
Inverness were eliminated from the competition following their heavy defeat by the Premiership club, when a loss by three goals or less would still have secured them a second-round berth.
John Robertson’s men begin their league season away to Falkirk on Saturday and Tremarco says they must heed the warning signs from their rude awakening in the capital.
Tremarco said: “We need to put it behind us but we need to learn from it as well. We can’t just forget about it because there are things we need to work on.
“The boys are chomping at the bit to get back on the training pitch and rectify it.
“This season we have started well, but we haven’t played anyone on our same level. That’s what we know we are going to come up against on Saturday, which will be a tough game against Falkirk.
“We need to put it at the back of our minds, but also remember how we felt on Sunday in the changing room – it was a bit embarrassing, it wasn’t nice walking off after a 5-0 drubbing.”
Inverness made a slow start to last season following their relegation from the Premiership, taking just four points from their opening seven matches before a huge improvement which saw them narrowly miss out on a top-four place.
Tremarco is confident the Highlanders can hit the ground running this time around, with the 32-year-old adding:
“The cup is done and put to bed, so we need to start another little run now.
“We need to start the season well because we don’t want to keep going on about last season.
“The start of last season ruined us, and cost us the play-offs at least. Saturday is a massive game – it’s bigger than Sunday.
“I don’t like to harp on about the relegation season too much, but it was there last year.
“It was like a grim reaper over our shoulder until we put it to bed midway through the season when we went on a decent run.
“We’ve got boys who have stayed on from last season, and a couple of new faces who have played in this league.
“We’ve had a season in the Championship so there are no excuses. We need to start really well.”